ROME Turkey’s foreign minister stated Ankara’s patience with Russia “has a limit” right after Moscow’s “exaggerated” reaction to a weekend naval incident between the two countries, an Italian newspaper reported on Monday.
A Russian destroyer fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean on Sunday to steer clear of a collision and summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident..
“Ours was only a fishing boat, it appears to me that the reaction of the Russian naval ship was exaggerated,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.
“Russia and Turkey certainly have to re-establish the relations of trust that we have always had, but our patience has a limit,” Cavusoglu stated.
The incident is most likely to heighten tensions in between the two nations who are at odds more than Syria and Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane last month.
Cavusoglu stated Russia had currently “put itself in a ridiculous position” with accusations by its President Vladimir Putin that Turkey had shot down the jet to defend oil supplies from Islamic State.
“No-a single believed it” he mentioned.
He also criticized Russia’s military intervention in Syria, saying it was aimed at propping up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, not combating Islamic State.
“Sadly Russia is not in Syria to fight terrorists,” he mentioned, adding that only 8 % of its air strikes had been aimed at Islamic State whilst 92 % were against other groups hostile to Assad.
Cavusoglu also stated air strikes had been not sufficient to defeat Islamic State and soldiers on the ground have been essential, according to the interview.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones Editing by Hugh Lawson)